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Invasive Exotic Pest Plants in Tennessee.

Tennessee exotic pest plant council.


ABSTRACT--The Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council has produced this list of invasive exotic plants to serve as a guide for land managers in making responsible decisions about plant use and management decisions. The purposes of this list are to: 1) identify introduced plant species that are invasive or may become invasive and cause damage to native plant communities in Tennessee; 2) rank exotic plants based on their invasive characteristics; 3) foster early detection of these plants; and 4) educate the general public and resource managers in an effort to eliminate the use of invasive exotics in landscaping, restoration, and enhancement projects.


The Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council (TN-TPPC) first published the Invasive Exotic Pest Plants in Tennessee list in February 1995. That list was initiated from the "introduced taxa" portion of the Checklist of the Vascular Plants of Tennessee (Wofford and Kral, 1993). Sufficient new information has been collected to warrant this first revision.

Introduced plant species are those not native to a region. They are referred to as exotics. Most introduced species are harmless. However, many species do naturalize and have the potential to spread and negatively impact plant communities. Invasive exotic plants usually exhibit some of the following characteristics: produce many small seeds and begin reproducing within their first few years; can reproduce both by seed and vegetative growth; have no special seed germination requirements; and have long flowering and fruiting periods (Randall and Marinelli, 1996). The ecological impacts of invasive exotics may include: reduction of biodiversity; loss of endangered species and their habitats; loss of habitat and food sources for wildlife; and disruption of native plant-animal associations (Westbrooks, 1998).

The list was prepared to provide useful information to help guide agencies and private landowners in making responsible decisions about plant use and management decisions. It is meant for use as a management tool; it has no regulatory authority. The plants are ranked in order of threat to natural communities. It is recommended that Rank 1 and Rank 2 category species be controlled and managed in the early stages of detection when possible. The "Lesser Threat" and "Watch List" category species may become problems in the future and should be monitored. Some species on the "Watch List" are severe threats elsewhere, but have not yet been reported in Tennessee (Kentucky Exotic Pest Plant Council; Virginia Native Plant Society).


The development of the original list in 1995 included reviews by individuals who are familiar with the flora of their region, including professional and amateur botanists, ecologists, and resource managers. All comments were considered, and a consensus approach was accepted.

This revision followed a similar review process; however, a second step was initiated to review the plant list on a regional scale. First, the list was sent to professional and amateur botanists, ecologists, and resource managers for review and recommendations, including additions, deletions, or changes to current species ranking. Working subcommittees representing the three historical Grand Divisions of Tennessee were established: West (Mississippi River Valley and the Coastal Plain), Middle (Highland Rim and Central Basin), and East (Cumberland Plateau, Valley and Ridge, and the Appalachian Mountains) (Chester and Ellis, 1989). The subcommittees reviewed the 1995 list, considered all reviewers' comments, consulted the Atlas of Tennessee Vascular Plants (Chester et al., 1993, 1997), and made their recommendations to the TN-EPPC Review Committee.

The Review Committee, which also was representative of the Grand Divisions, made final additions, deletions, and changes in the species ranking based on consensus. Additions to the list include species discovered in Tennessee since 1995 that have been reported to cause ecological damage (Chester et al., 1997), species known to cause ecological damage elsewhere and are considered to be potential threats (Schwartz, 1999), and species that may have been overlooked during development of the 1995 list.

Some plants are more invasive in one part of the state than in others, so the rankings are based on overall invasiveness across the state. This revision of the Invasive Exotic Pest Plants in Tennesee list meets the goal of providing useful information to help guide agencies and private landowners in making responsible decisions about plant use and management decisions. The list has no regulatory authority.

Kartesz (1999) is the authority for nomenclature and authorship. Common names include those given by Kartesz.

Severe Threat. Exotic plant species that possess characteristics of
invasive species and spread easily into native plant communities and
displace native vegetation. Includes species that are or could become
widespread in Tennessee.

Scientific Name Common Name

Ailanthus altissima (P. Mill.) Tree-of-heaven
Albizia julibrissin Durazz. Mimosa, silktree
Alliaria petiolata (Bieb.) Cavara Garlic-mustard
 and Grande
Celastrus orbiculata Thunb. Asian bittersweet
Dioscorea oppositifolia L. Air-potato, Chinese yam
Elaeagnus pungens Thunb. Thorny-olive
Euonymus fortunei (Turcz.) Hand.- Winter-creeper
Hedera helix L. English-ivy
Lespedeza cuneata (Dum.-Cours.) G. Chinese bush-clover
Ligustrum sinense Lour. Chinese privet
Ligustrum vulgare L. European privet
Lonicera fragrantissima Lindl. and Sweet-breath-of-spring
Lonicera japonica Thunb. Japanese honeysuckle
Lonicera maackii (Rupr.) Herder Amur honeysuckle
Lonicera morrowii Gray Morrow's honeysuckle
Lonicera tatarica L. Tartarian honeysuckle, twin-
Lonicera x bella Zabel Bush honeysuckle
Lythrum salicaria L. [all varieties Purple loosestrife
 and cultivars]
Microstegium vimineum (Trin.) A. Nepalese browntop
Myriophyllum spicatum L. Eurasian water-milfoil
Paulownia tomentosa (Thunb.) Sieb. Princesstree
 and Zucc. ex Steud.
Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. Cammon reed
 ex Steud.
Polygonum cuspidatum Seib. and Japanese knotweed, Japanese bamboo
Pueraria montana var. lobata Kudzu
 (Willd.) Malsen and S. Al-
Rosa multiflora Thunb. ex Murr Multiflora rose, rambler rose
Solanum viarum Dunal Tropical soda-apple
Sorghum halepense (L.) Pers. Johnson grass
Spiraea japonica L.f. Japanese meadowsweet

Significant Threat. Exotic plant species that possess characteristics of
invasive species but are not presently considered to spreas as easily
into native plant communities as those species listed as Rank 1.

Scientific Name Common Name

Alternanthera philoxeroides (Mart.) Alligator-weed
Artemisia vulgaris L. Mugwort, common worm-wood
Arthraxon hispidus (Thunb.) Small carp grass, hairy joint-
 Makino grass
Berberis thunbergii DC. Japanese barberry
Bromus commutatus Schrad. Meadow brome
Bromus japonicus Thunb. ex Murr. Japanese brome
Bromus secalinus L. Rye brome
Bromus tectorum L. Thatch bromegrass, cheat grass
Carduus nutans L. Nodding plumeless-thistle
Centaurea biebersteinii DC. Spotted knapweed
Cirsium arvense L. (Scop.) Canadian thistle
Cirsium vulgare (Savi) Ten. Bull thistle
Clematis terniflora DC. Sweet antumn virin's-bower,
 leatherleaf clematis
Conium maculatum L. Poison hemlock
Coronilla varia L. Purple crown-vetch
Daucus carota L. Wild carrot, Queen Anne's-lace
Dipsacus fullonum L. Fuller's teasel
Euonymus alata (Thunb.) Sieb. Burning bush, winged spindletree
Hesperis matronalis L. Dame's rocket, mother-of-the-
Hydrilla verticillata (L.f.) Royle Hydrilla, water-thyme
Lespedeza bicolor Turcz. Bicolor lespedeza, two-color
Ligustrum japonicum Thunb. Japanese privet
Lolium arundinaceum (Schreb.) S. J. Tall rye grass
Lolium pratense (Huds.) S. J. Meadow rye grass
Lysimachia nummularia L. Moneywort, creeping-Jenny
Mahonia bealei (Fortune) carriere Beale's Oregon-grape
Melilotus officinalis (L.) Lam. Yellow [and white] sweet clover[s]
Miscanthus sinensis Anderss. Zebra grass, Chinese silver grass
Murdannia keisak (Hassk.) Hand.-Maz Wart-removing-herb
Myriophyllum aquaticum (Vell.) Parrot's-feather, water milfoil
Nandina domestica Thunb. Nandina, sacred-bamboo
Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum (L.) Watercress
Polygonum caespitosum Blume Bunchy knotweed, oriental lady's-
Populus alba L. White poplar
Potamogeton crispus L. Curly pondweed
Setaria faberi R.A.W. Herrm. Nodding foxtail-grass,
 Japanese bristle grass
Setaria italica (L.) P. Beauv. Millet, Italian bristle grass
Setaria pumila (Poir.) Roem. Yellow bristle grass
 and Schult.
Setaria viridis (L.) P. Beauv. Green bristle grass
Torilis arvensis (Huds.) Link Spreading hedge-parsley
Tussilago farfara L. Colt's-foot
Verbascum thapsus L. Common mullein
Vicia sativa L. Garden vetch
Vinca minor L. Lesser periwinkle
Wisteria floribunda (Willd.) Japanese wisteria
Wisteria sinensis (Sims) DC. Chinese wisteria
Xanthium strumarium L. Common cockleburr, rough

Leser Threat. Exotic plant species that spred in or near disturbed
areas, and are not presently considered a threat to native plant

Scientific name Common Name

Allium vineale L Field garlic, crow garlic
Arundo donax L. Giant-reed, elephant grass
Bromus catharticus Vahl Bromegrass, rescue grass
Bromus inermis Leyss. Smooth brome
Broussonetia papyrifera (L.) Paper-mulberry
 L'Her. ex Vent.
Buglossoides arvensis (L.) I. Corn-gromwell
 M. Johnston
Cardiospermum halicacabum Balloonvine, love-in-a-puff
Centaurea cyanus L. Bachelor's button, garden
Cichorium intybus L. Chicory
Egeria densa Planch. Brazilian elodea,
Elaeagnus angustifolia L. Russian-olive
Eschscholzia californica California-poppy
Fatoua villosa (Thunb.) Nakai Hairy crabweed
Glechoma hederacea L. Gill-over-the-ground,
Iris pseudacorus L. Pale-yellow iris
Kummerowia stipulacea Korean-clover
 (Maxim.) Makino
Kummerowia striata (Thunb.) Japanese-clover
Leucanthemum vulgare Lam. Ox-eye daisy
Melia azedarach L. China-berry
Ornithogalum umbellatum L. Star of Bethlehem,
Pastinaca sativa L. Wild parsnip
Polygonum persicaria L. Lady's-thumb
Rubus phoenicolasius Maxim. Wine raspberry, wineberry
Senna obtusifolia (L.) H. S. Coffeeweed, sicklepod senna
 Irwin and Barneby
Tragopogon dubius Scop. Meadow goat's-beard
Tribulus terrestris L. Puncturevine
Urtica dioica L. Stinging nettle
Xanthium spinosum L. Spiny cockleburr

Exotic plant species that are severe problems in surrounding states but
have not been reported in Tennessee

Ampelopsis brevipedunculata Amur peppervine
 (Maxim.) Trautv.
Imperata cylindrica (L.) Cogon grass
Polygonum perfoliatum L. Mile-a-minute, Asiatic tear-thumb
Rhamnus cathartica L. European buckthorn
Rottboellia cochinchinensis Itch grass
 (Lour.) W. D. Clayton
Salvinia molesta Mitchell Aquarium water-moss,
Setaria pumila ssp. pallidifusca Cattail grass
 (Schumacher) B. K. Simon
Solanum sisymbriifolium Lam. Sticky nightshade
Triadica sebifera (L.) Small Chinese tallowtree

Exotic plants that naturalize and may become a problem in the future. At
this time more information is needed, and there is no consensus about
their status.

Scientific Name Common Name

Agrostis stolonifera L. Weeping love grass, spread-
 ing bent
Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaertn. Sticky alder, European alder
Bromnus hordeaceus L. Soft brome
Bromus sterilis L. Poverty brome
Buddleja davidii Franch. Orange-eye butterfly-bush
Bupleurum rotundifolium L. Hound's-ear, hare's-ear
Cosmos bipinnatus Cav. Garden cosmos
Cosmos sulphureus C Cav. Sulphur cosmos
Dipsacus lacintatus L. Cutleaf teasel
Echium vulgare L. Common viper's-bugloss
Frangula alnus P. Mill. Glossy false buckthorn
Hibiscus syriacus L. Rose-of-Sharon
Hyperiewn perforatum L. Goatweed, common St.
Mentha spicata L. Spearmint
Mentha x piperita (pro sp.) Peppermint
Muscari botryoides (L.) Mill. Common grape-hyacinth
Muscari neglectum Guss. ex Starch grape-hyacinth
Najas minor All. Brittle waternymph
Phalaris canariensis L. Common canary grass
Pyrus calleryana Dene. Bradford pear
Rhodotypos scandens (Thunb.) Makino Jetbead
Senecio vulgaris L. Ragwort, old-man-in-the-spring
Setaria verticillata (L.) P. Beauv. Bur-foxtail, rough bristle grass
Solanum dulcamara L. Bittersweet, climbing night-shade
Stachys floridana Shuttlew. Florida hedge-nettle
 ex Benth.


Reviewers included: C. Bryson, US Dept. Agriculture, Southern Weed Sci. Research Unit, Stoneville, MS; C. Bullington, Director Conservation Planning, Tennessee Chapter of The Nature Conservancy; E. Clebsch, Univ. Tennessee Botany Dept; R. Clements, Dept. Biology and Environmental Science, Chattanooga State Technical Comm. College; J. L. Collins, Botanist, TVA Regional Natural Heritage Project; H. DeSelm Univ. Tennessee Botany Dept; Jamey Donaldson, Adjunct Herbarium Curator, East Tennessee State Univ.; S. Major, Natural Heritage Program Coordinator, Tennessee Dept. Environment and Conservation Division of Natural Heritage; T. Martin, Director, Shelby Farms, Memphis; L. Patrick, Invasive Plant Control; L. Pounds, Consulting Botanist; N. Fraley, TVA Natural Areas Coordinator; P. Parr, Oak Ridge National Laboratory Area Manager; M. Priestley, Sewanee Herbarium curator; A. Shea, Rare Plant Protection Specialist, Tennessee Dept. Environment and Conservation Division of Natural Heritage; J. Shimp, Illinois State Bi ologist; A. Wyss, Hatchie River Project Director, Tennessee Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.


CHESTER, E. W., AND W. H. ELLIS. 1989. Plant communities of northwestern Middle Tennessee. J. Tenn. Acad. Sci., 64(3): 75-78.

CHESTER, E. W., B. E. WOFFORD, AND R. KRAL. 1993. Atlas of Tennessee vascular plants, vol. 1. pteridophytes, gymnosperms, angiosperms: monocots. The Center for Field Biology, Austin Peay State Univ., Clarksville, Tennessee.

-----. 1997. Atlas of Tennessee vascular plants, vol. 2. angiosperms: dicots. The Center for Field Biology, Austin Peay State Univ., Clarksville, Tennessee.

KARTESZ, J. 1999. Synthesis of the North American flora (computer file). North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill. North Carolina.

KENTUCKY EXOTIC PEST PLANT COUNCIL. Invasive exotic plant list.

RANDALL, J., AND I. MARINELLI. 1996. Invasive plants: weeds of the global garden. Handbook No. 149. Brooklyn Botanic Garden, New York.

SCHWARTZ, A. 1999. Plants to avoid. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.


WESTBROOKS, R. 1998. Invasive plants, changing the landscape of America: Fact book. Federal Interagency Committee for the Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds (FICMNEW), Washington, DC.

WOFFORD, B. E., AND R. KRAL. 1993. Checklist of the vascular plants of Tennessee. Botanical Research Institute of Texas, Fort Worth, Texas.
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Publication:Journal of the Tennessee Academy of Science
Geographic Code:1U6TN
Date:Apr 1, 2002
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